J. K. Rowling has done it again. She's created a whole new fantasy world based on the writings of young Newt Scamander's adventures in New York City’s secret society of wizards and witches, occurring 70 years before Harry Potter read his books at Hogwarts school.
The story takes place in 1926 New York City, where our young wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just come off the ship from England to study writing while returning some fantastic beasts to their native home. Being a writer and a magizoologist, he's a bit clumsy carrying them around in his travel suitcase, when he accidentally bumps into Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), a muggle (non-wizard). They accidentally swap identical bags, which leads to the escape of a few species causing pandemonium throughout New York City’s muggles, yielding the proverbial "cat out of the bag” like a scene from Men in Black. Time to erase their minds…
But wait, there's a bigger issue. Apparently, some other magical beast is causing havoc through the streets of NYC, terrorizing the No-Maj (U.S. term for non-magical muggle) community. It's the job of the magical Congress of the United States led by Graves (Colin Farrell) who’s searching for the culprit. Newt being at the wrong place at the wrong time is blamed for the turmoil.
The two stories come together with Newt joining forces with Kowalski and two female wizards, struggling investigator Porpen’tina’ Goldstein (Katherine Waterson) and her mindreading sister, Queenie (Alison Sudol). Together, they try to hunt down the creatures destroying New York City, while proving Newt’s innocence.
I saw this movie in IMAX 3-D—it was sensational. Director David Yates did a fabulous job with CGI and 3-D technology. While the effects may not have been as mesmerizing as in the movie Doctor Strange, the story itself held its own, and having knowledge of the Harry Potter series was not a prerequisite.
The characters were wonderfully written, giving the audience an in-depth knowledge of who they are and their struggles in life. It was this human emotion that made the film so powerful. Newt’s love for his animals, Kowalski’s dream of owning his own business, Queenie’s search for the right man and Tina’s desire to elevate her work position to become a respected investigator. It was a wonderful change having characters that I cared for in a movie.
This is a great movie for the whole family. I would strongly suggest seeing it in 3-D, as it wonderfully brings the writings of J.K. Rowling to life.